The Book of You is British author Claire Kendal's debut novel.
You know that delicious tingle you get when you've read the first few pages of a book and absolutely know you're in for an addictive read? One that will consume you until you finish it? Well, The Book of You is one of those reads.
"It is you. Of course it is you. Always it is you."
A polite drink one evening. A morning with no recollection of what happened. Three months later, he's everywhere that Clarissa turns, outside her home, her work, watching, leaving notes and presents, approaching her, always polite, but never leaving her be. He hasn't truly done anything that the police can deal with. "The advice in the leaflets doesn't work in real life. I doubt anything will work with you."
But what Clarissa does do is start documenting it all - everything Rafe says, does, dates, times, places, saving everything he has left for her. "Perhaps the leaflets are not completely useless after all. They have taught me that a time will come when the story matters a lot. And I already know that every story has a true name. I wish this story's name could be different, but nothing will change it. This story is The Book of You."
Clarissa is called to serve on a jury. Although the case is a difficult one - a woman who has been held captive and abused, the courtroom is a place where Clarissa believes she can feel safe for seven weeks. But, she doesn't count on the emotional trauma that the case brings into her own life. Much of the testimony mirrors her own situation.
Rafe's stalking of Clarissa is insidious and truly, truly frightening. He manipulates and twists things about, so that Clarissa looks like she is the crazy one. His conciliatory tone, his politeness, his belief that Clarissa is his, is more chilling than overt acts of violence. But for me, it was the watching, the constant surveillance that had me creeped out.
I don't know if I could have been as polite in some of the interactions as Clarissa was. I found myself urging her to not dismiss her own concerns, to not try to build a case against Rafe before seeking help from the authorities. To run.
Kendal does a fantastic job of slowly and deliciously building the tension. She adds in plot twists that I didn't see coming and an ending I didn't expect. There are situations and descriptions that may not be for gentle readers. For though this is an imagined tale, stalking is an all too real danger for many.
The Book of You is a fantastic debut and has put Kendal on my 'must read' authors list. Thriller and suspense fans - this one's for you. Read an excerpt of The Book of You.
"Claire Kendal was born in America and educated in England, where she has spent all of her adult life. The Book of You is her first novel. It will be translated into over twenty languages. Claire teaches English Literature and Creative Writing, and lives in the South West with her family. She is working on her next psychological thriller." You can find Claire Kendal on Facebook.
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